Get Your Resume to the Top of the Pile With These 4 Tips

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Getting your resume noticed doesn’t happen in a sudden, eureka moment. Instead, it’s more like winning The Bachelor.

In order to get to the interview stage, your resume needs to survive a series of cuts. If you’re a strong enough candidate, you’ll still be around at the end, when it’s time to start meeting candidates in person.

After all, HR departments are inundated with resumes. To make the total more manageable, they use some triage. They whittle down the pile with a series of filters, leaving a small number of worthwhile candidates, who will each get a closer look.

With that in mind, here are four tips to survive the various “rose ceremonies” between you and an interview:

Don’t Try Stunts

Given the heated competition for positions, people are often tempted to try something desperate to get noticed. Off-color jokes. Writing the resume in verse. Structuring it as an infographic using images of SpongeBob SquarePants characters.

Most of these gimmicks backfire. Rather than standing out, it’s usually a fast-track to getting your resume deleted. Boring as it may be, it’s better to stick with a traditional resume and cover letter, unless the company specifically invites something more unusual.

Clear, Concise, Organized

While wild, attention-seeking stunts tend to backfire, it’s still important to think about the structure and content of a resume.

Make sure your best qualities are easy to find. Include a skills section that lets an HR staffer easily see how you fit into the organization. Use elements like bold type or italics to highlight key points. (Though remember to use these sparingly … too much typographical bling and your resume starts to get annoyingly gaudy.)

Rise of the Machines

Sometimes, your resume gets prescreened by a computer. Software takes a digital glance at the document, looking for keywords and phrases pertinent to the position.

Keep this in mind when preparing your resume.

Include words and phrases related to the position. Usually, you can determine the appropriate terminology from the job posting. If it mentions a specific skill or technical competency, include that phrasing in your resume. Also, keep an eye out for culture words – phrases like “fast-paced” or “self-starter.” Work these into the resume as well.

Have an “In”

It helps if you can skip some steps. Any job expert will encourage you to use your network to help find a position. Friends, family, former co-workers – anyone can give you an entry point.

This advice works because knowing someone allows you to skip the normal process. No HR person wants to go through the hassle of vetting strangers’ resumes if they have a viable candidate available. If you can find that “in,” you can skip the resume pile completely.

Looking for a new job?

To get that extra edge, work your social network, relying on your circle of acquaintances to magically know about that perfect opportunity. Or you can leave it to the experts. Teaming up with a first-rate recruiting partner maximizes your chances of landing your ideal spot. Contact Qualified Staffing to find out what they can do for you.